The Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2002 (the “CPA”) provides that a consumer has a right to fair value, good quality and safe goods and services. Poor-quality goods and services affect all consumers.
Since consumer rights cannot be excluded contractually, this part of the CPA plays a significant role when it comes to return policies.
It is important to note that the CPA does not afford consumers a general right of return. A consumer cannot simply have a change of heart and may only return goods under the CPA in four instances, namely:
We will look closely at each of these four instances, for this week we deal with:
Where a consumer did not have the opportunity to examine or inspect the actual goods received prior to the purchase, he/she is entitled to inspect the goods upon delivery thereof. If the consumer finds that:
Then the consumer may:
The supplier will have to bear the cost of collecting the goods from the consumer.
If a consumer purchased goods as a result of direct marketing, then the consumer may, within a period of 5 days after receiving the goods–
The consumer shall bear the cost of returning the goods to the supplier.
Don’t miss the next article where we will have a look at the remaining two instances of consumer returns, the impact of Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002 (“ECTA”) on consumer returns, as well as the importance of refunds and refund policies.
SERR Synergy assists businesses that supply goods or services with the compilation of a Refund and Return Policy that is compliant with the provisions of the CPA and ECTA (where applicable). We also review your existing policies to ensure that they are aligned with legislation and comply with the CPA and ECTA.
About the Author: Montenique Hayward is a BCom (Law) , LLB  and LLM  graduate from the University of Pretoria. During her LLM studies, she specialised in Consumer Protection and was, subsequently, awarded the JUTA award for the highest mark obtained at the end of her LLM. She was also admitted as an attorney of the High Court in 2015 and practiced as such before joining our team in 2017 as a Corporate Legal Advisor.
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